A story from, "Nobody washes me, I'm Italian" February 27 2016


One fall weekend my brother John decided that he was going hunting with some friends. John was 18 years of age. Dad went ballistic. “It’s bad business! For Christ’s sake, you have never gone hunting before let alone handled a gun! You know people mistake other people for a deer and get shot to death?” ...
John insisted, “Dad, I know what I am doing! I will be careful!” \

Dad paced around the kitchen table, shaking his head, “Yeah! You will be careful! It’s bad business to go out in the woods and not know what the hell you are doing! There are a lot of dead people that knew what they were doing too!”

John borrowed some hunting gear and a shotgun, and left. All day Dad paced, mumbling, “I am so worried about that kid!” When John came back he was excited that he’d shot a rabbit. John placed the rabbit in the driveway by the garage door and ran in to tell Dad what he had shot. Dad’s response was, “What the hell are you going to do with a rabbit? I’ll tell you one thing, you can’t leave it in the driveway. It will start to stink and rot.”

“I know Dad. I already gutted it out in the woods, its okay.” said John.

“Yeah, well, let me tell you something. You need to skin it and cut it up. What the hell were you thinking when you shot the damn thing anyway, it was going to clean itself?”

John stared back, his face in a deadpan look, and said, “I was thinking Pizzaiola!” (Pizzaiola is a style of cooking meat or chicken with fresh tomato and spices.)

Dad couldn’t stop laughing, “I’ll pizzaiola you!” Dad knew the rabbit would sit there until he did something with it. As Dad went out to get the rabbit he swore under his breath, “Managgia il diavola! (Damn the devil) That kid is going to drive me crazy!”

Waiting for Petite October 09 2013

Whenever one of us refused to eat supper, Dad would get up, grab the plate take it to the refrigerator, put it in, slam the door shut, then come back to the table and sit down. “We will wait for Petite, for he will come,” he’d say, while shaking a pointed finger at us. We would say, “Good he can have it… whoever he is.” Dad would eat without saying another word to us. Later on, when Johnnie and I would get hungry and we would go to the kitchen. Dad would sneak in from the dining room table where he was always perched correcting his students homework and ask, “What’s the matter?” If we said we were hungry he would say, “Hm, I see that Petite has arrived?” And we would say, “Petite who?” Dad would stand there laughing at us for what he really was saying was that our “appetito” [appetite] had arrived. Dad would then take the plate of food from the refrigerator, put it on the kitchen table and say, “Hey Yio! There you go!”  As he went back to correcting papers he could hardly keep from laughing.

Johnnie would yell, “I’m not eating that! You eat it! You know Dad, not everyone likes the same food as you. What about more variety… like what my friends eat?”

“You want variety? Then go live with them!

He knew we wouldn’t eat what we’d refused at supper, but he got a big kick out of torturing us. He would just mutter under his breath, “You’re all nuts! Something is wrong with your cucuzza [One’s head or squash]. You don’t know what it is like to be hungry!”